As I was finishing up this refresh I decided to peek into archive.org and see what it looked like some time ago. It brought back a lot of memories! No such much the content (because, there isn’t much of it) but what was around it reminded me about the specifics of the tech which brought back more nostalgia than I expected.
I wonder if I should pull the content from those old posts and include here? (Of course, with some editing of those embarassing teenage ones…)
Some random things that stuck out:
I registered kevinmarsh.com in January of the year I graudated high school.
I don’t have any solid captures of the CSS (which is ironic, given it was the era when you bragged about your HTML and CSS validating…) but was using Movable Type and writing Markdown. 16 years ago.
Then (of course), MT was too much and I had to roll my own blog.
The Georgia header and 11px Lucida Grande body copy layout emerges. I used this for a long time. I had a “moblog” on the sidebar, featuring photos I took on my Treo 650 that were automatically uploaded to Flickr. (It’s amazing those static.flickr.com links still work to this day, even after Flickr was acquired.)
I eventually migrated to Mephisto and was hosting it on SliceHost. More blasts from the pasts (and more 11px Lucida Grande.) That was such an amazing period of learning and growth for me, especially related to Ruby and Rails.
I was being snarky about a tech CEO responding to censorship on their platform. Sound similar? (Although, @nat handled youtube-dl much better on GitHub.)
I migrated from Mephisto to Jekyll, which was way ahead of its time as far as static sites go, way before it had a clever name.
Switched to the more-or-less current layout which was originaly implemented in Pure CSS.
I noticed some weird scrolling issues with Pure CSS and wanted to try Tailwind CSS anyway so I undertook rewriting the CSS and freshening things up a bit:
There’s way more I want to do and way more I want to share, but this’ll be Good Enough™ for now.
While I wish Apple Watch faces supported more customization, I really like the ability to change the colors. My standard is the Modular face with a color I select each morning that matches my shirt color. Really. To make that a little easier (and mostly because I was curious and couldn’t find this list anywhere) I collated the Apple Watch face colors and created the reference below:
|Color Name||Hex Value|
Values were taken from screenshots of the Modular watch face on watchOS 5.0, AirDropped into Preview on a Mac with Digital Color Meter with
Display native values selected. The hour/minute separator was sampled around the same location for every color.
I’ve often thought there wasn’t much variation between some of the shades on the Apple Watch. It was surprsing to me how distinctive some of the colors looked on my desktop display (a Dell P2715Q). I suspect it has more to do with seeing all the colors next to each other and not a deficiency in the Apple Watch’s OLED screen’s color rendition.
I started my programming journey hacking on PHP in 2001 and grew into a developer with Ruby and its clean syntax. I’ve dabbled in Go but didn’t care for the syntax. I’ve dabbled in Elixir but had a hard time getting my app deployed with the right Erlang/OTP dependencies. Crystal ticks most of the boxes I care about:
As its slogan says: “Fast as C, slick as Ruby.”
Installing Crystal on Mac is pretty easy with Homebrew:
brew install crystal-lang.
Here’s a simple Hello World app:
puts "Hello World"
crystal run hello-world.cr or build a binary with
crystal build hello-world.cr.
The syntax is identical to Ruby in most simple cases, but it’s not Ruby. For example, it can have types:
class Person def initialize(name : String) @name = name @age = 0 end def name @name end def age @age end end kevin = Person.new("Kevin") kevin.name #=> "Kevin"
I coded up a quick Sinatra “Hello World” app (which I can do mostly from memory) and a similar one in Kemal to give you a flavor of what it’s like to get started in Crystal.
require "sinatra" get "/" do "Hello World!" end
Now let’s run and benchmark it:
% RACK_ENV=production ruby sinatra.rb # run % wrk -c16 -t16 -d30s http://localhost:4567/ # benchmark Running 30s test @ http://localhost:4567/ 16 threads and 16 connections Thread Stats Avg Stdev Max +/- Stdev Latency 6.41ms 7.87ms 178.16ms 91.30% Req/Sec 177.17 38.21 303.00 71.07% 63540 requests in 30.09s, 11.21MB read Requests/sec: 2111.50 Transfer/sec: 381.50KB
require "kemal" get "/" do "Hello World!" end Kemal.run
(Looks familiar, eh?) Let’s (compile!), run, and benchmark:
% crystal build kemal.cr --release # compile % ./kemal # run % wrk -c16 -t16 -d30s http://localhost:3000/ # benchmark Running 30s test @ http://localhost:3000/ 16 threads and 16 connections Thread Stats Avg Stdev Max +/- Stdev Latency 2.69ms 9.52ms 223.64ms 94.47% Req/Sec 1.34k 291.21 1.89k 71.22% 639215 requests in 30.04s, 73.76MB read Requests/sec: 21280.90 Transfer/sec: 2.46MB
About an order-of-magnitude faster! (Don’t you just love a good microbenchmark?) Plus we didn’t have to sacrifice any of the clean, familiar syntax of Ruby.
As I dove deeper, I learned Crystal is (mostly) implemented in Crystal, especially its standard library. (Kind of like Rubinius, remember that?) And its a modern one with built-in JSON parsing and generation support and a nice HTTP client, for example.
Since things are just ramping up the barrier of entry to contributing to Crystal and its fledgling libraries is pretty low. Especially since you don’t have to write C to contribute.
I’m skeptical about Crystal’s long term future, and probably won’t use it for any client apps at the moment, but I am digging into it for side projects and starting to advocate for it in small areas where is makes sense in the hopes that it may one day get the support it needs to grow.